17 November 2000

NEVER TOO FAR FOR TOP ROAST

We asked you to write and tell us about how you spent Roast and Toast Day. So here is

the winning letter from Susan Forrester – which details a 500-mile journey to enjoy

a roast – and two of the others. A delicious dry-cured ham, kindly provided by

North Yorks farmer Mandy Sowray, will soon be winging its way to Mrs Forrester

THE weatherman promised gales and heavy rain. The cows were all confined to their winter quarters making more work for the relief staff. Changing the clocks signalled the end of BSE – oops, wishful thinking – BST and the beginning of GMT and we were celebrating a nieces 21st birthday the night before. These incidents, and possibly a little madness, prompted the Howberry "staff outing" to Tenbury Wells.

Leaving home at 6.30am we went to spend the day with a college friend and her family. Marion and I met at agricultural college in nineteen hundred and… Gosh is it Tuesday already! And weve been friends ever since. Weve shared the good times and the bad, the happy times and the sad through nearly four decades.

Marion, Derek, Anne and Michael farm beef and sheep and have apple orchards growing cider and dessert apples. My husband, Tom, and I have a Holstein Friesian herd and a Limousin herd. Just in case I get bored, I also have a part-time job making icecream.

The day was spent catching up on news and gossip. Plants and cuttings were swapped, farming was discussed. Tea was drunk.

Designed to incorporate both farming enterprises, our meal consisted of home-bred Aberdeen Angus beef from friends in Appleby, Shropshire-grown potatoes and vegetables, home-made trifle and Cumbrian Cottage icecream, English cheese, biscuits and home-made butter.

Then the toast to "British Farming" – with cider from "Chateau Bulmer" of course.

All too soon it was time to head back north. With the boot full of apples, potatoes and plants, we dropped Marions mum off in Cleobury and headed home. We arrived home at 12.30am having travelled just over 500 miles.

Roasting brings out the true flavour of the meat and a good-sized piece of meat gives something to cut at afterwards or to make into another dish for another day. We should all buy British because it is the safest and the best.

Mrs SE Forrester,

Howberry, Carlisle, Cumbria.

IENJOYED a special British delicacy on Oct 29, a Great British roast meal. You see, upon a visit to my sister, who lives in Banbury, to bring Yuletide gifts for family and friends, I was delighted to learn that I had been invited to join my niece for a Roast and Toast meal.

Julie and Robert live on a farm and rear their own stock and the menu that day was a whole leg of pork, cooked to perfection in their Aga.

Accompanying this were roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, cauliflower in cheese sauce, cabbage and generous scoops of fluffed-up home-grown mashed potato.

The meal was preceded by scrumptious Yorkshire pudding, crisp at the edges and served with gorgeous gravy, laced with onion and the juices from cooked vegetables.

The Sunday roast was carved and plated by Robert, with scrumptious crackling and apple sauce. This was followed by home-made lemon meringue pie.

Altogether a meal fit for a king and one to be savoured in memory for many a day to come.

The roast is a very important meal firstly because it is so economical; after the roast on Sunday it can be served cold on Monday and, with a bit of imagination, a different dish on Tuesday. It also encourages family unity.

Whether the joint is beef, pork or lamb, I always cook the Yorkshire pudding under the meat, as this is very satisfying and substantial for a growing family.

We should all buy British because it is the best and also we need to support our farmers, support the country and let agriculture thrive again.

Buy British. Fly the Flag. Eat the Best.

Mrs Julie Tustian,

Chacombe, Oxon.

WE celebrated with delicious British pork from our local butcher served with home-grown potatoes, cabbage, apples – for the sauce – and sage and onions for the stuffing. It was delicious, but with one exception – not enough crackling!

Fortunately the cook was saved embarrassment by lack of demand – the three elderly members of the family wanted to avoid the risk of a trip to the dentist! In spite of being deprived of the crackling our 92-year-old, Mini-driving aunt and 89 and 85-year-old mothers really enjoyed their British Sunday roast. It is, of course, their favourite meal – and they have all had long enough to find out!

Janet Gray,

Link House Farm, Church Road, West Hanningfield,

Chelmsford, Essex.